Friday, August 7, 2009

Scout mum's do their best

Friday, August 7, 2009

Scout mums do dutiful best, too

  • Belinda Keir
  • August 6, 2009

QUESTION: how many pages are there in a Scout record book? Answer: 149.

How do I know this? Because I have just prised apart and blow-dried every single one of them. Hopefully, after a fortnight in a vice it should become reasonably book-like again.

Such is the life of the Scout mother. Little did I know that when the boys promised ‘‘to do my best to do my duty to my God and to the Queen of Australia’’ they were also promising ‘‘and Mum will have her work cut out for her’’.

Since then I have sewn enough badges to upholster a sofa, driven long distances on dark, wet nights with only a short-sighted 10-year-old as navigator, and learnt the story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by heart.

I’ve found out things that were interesting, and a few that come under ‘‘too much information’’. (do you have any idea just what a Sea Scout hides in his sailor hat?)

The big question, of course, is just when are they going to put out a Scout mums’ field book, full of the useful stuff we parents need to know? Things such as ‘‘how to blow-dry a Scout record book’’, or ‘‘how to get a kid to keep his woggle somewhere he’ll find it again next week’’ (answer: ‘‘don’t bother. Go to the Scout shop and buy a gross’’).

In the meantime I reckon I’ve earned a few badges of my own. Here is a selection:

The Woggle-Finding Woggle: every Sunday afternoon find all items of scout uniform that have dispersed themselves around the house, car and cubbyhouse since last week, plus the papier mache pyramid for the ‘‘anthropology’’ badge.

The Badge-Sewing Badge: sew 10 badges on to various parts of a Scout’s shirt 15 minutes before they have to head off to the local hall. None are to be upside-down. Super Glue is not an acceptable alternative to needle and thread.

The Camp Mothers Cord: attend a weekend camp with a bunch of 12-year-olds and remain sane. My best advice for this one is: ‘‘Just don’t watch – it all works out in the end.’’

Naturally, bravery awards go to any parent organizing a Bunnings barbecue fund-raiser.

All up, though, it’s been worth the ride.

I now have boys who can tie their shoelaces in a choice of knots (bowline, sheetbend, clove hitch or reef). They can cook Anzac biscuits. They’ve made masks, sunk boats, raced billy carts and learned annoying songs to make long car trips more memorable.

With youth like this, Australia’s future is in good hands.

Dyb dyb dyb, dob dob dob.

Hear hear - here's to all you loving devoted parents out there!!!

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